Though like all true country music Outlaws, Steve Earle knows that the “Outlaw” term is not about how you conduct yourself in your personal life, but how you take a stance on creative control of your music. That doesn’t mean a more Outlaw lifestyle wasn’t apt to find the individuals who fell under the “Outlaw” term…
Hubbard was as important as anybody in the formation of the Austin music scene, but he was unfortunate enough to record his marquee release in Nashville. In a classic story involving Music Row, once MCA was done adding their over-produced elements to Ray Wylie Hubbard & The Cowboy Twinkies, Ray and The Twinkies wanted nothing to do with it.
Take a man’s pluck, his moxy, his raw, unfettered anger at life, then concentrate it, purify it, and personify it into a root’s-based rock n’ roll outfit, and what you get is Portland, Oregon’s I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House. That little part of all of us that is buried deep inside, that just wants to fly off the handle and tell the whole world to fuck off, that’s this band’s muse, and their commodity.
Country rap is here ladies and gentlemen. It is a full-blown chart-topping mainstream-acceptable sub-genre of country, like it or not. So what is a country purist to do? Well I have assembled a survivor’s guide to help you rebuke some of the ridiculous claims being made by country rap apologists.
With his own new label, Hank3 Records, and the sense that he has thrown off the chains holding him back creatively, Shelton Hank Williams III, aka Hank3, is coming out swinging this year with the release of four records on September 6 – that’s right – FOUR.
Every once in a while, an album comes along that changes everything. It’s an album that inspires other albums, and dynamic shifts in tastes and approach throughout a sector of music. Slackeye Slim’s El Santo Grial, La Pistola Piadosa is one of those albums. It is a masterpiece, exquisitely produced, arranged, and performed.
We’ve been waiting for a legitimate, Larry Jon Wilson reissue for a long time, but fans of the crazy, punk-infused string band Larry & His Flask have been waiting for a full-on LP release from them for years as well, and finally got it today in the release of All That We Know in digital form, with CD’s to be ready in August.
Jason Aldean’s country-rap breakthrough hit “Dirt Road Anthem” is climbing the charts, and after the recent release of the video and his performance with Ludacris at the CMT Awards, I suspect it will remain in the Top 10, if not take one of the top tier spots very soon. So I thought it might be fun to peel the skin back and see what this puppy is made of.
As hard as I am on albums and artists, I am double hard on songs. An album can have it’s low points, a song can’t. And just like with the Best 2011 Albums So Far, the songs so far in 2011 present a weak field. But there a few good ones worth noting from Jason Isbell, James Hunnicutt, Jimbo Mathus, Amanda Shires, Austin Lucas, and Rachel Brooke.
We sit at the crossroads of the great technology paradigm. For all the music problems technology solved for artists and fans, it is now creating new ones, principally an astronomical glut in the sheer volume of music being produced, and then marketed specifically for commercial consumption on a global scale. The enjoyability of music depends on its place as a minority in the collective talents of human society.
Great songs are able to have universal appeal by the message of the song morphing to fit one’s unique life experience. In “Ghost Bird”, this isn’t just an attribute of the song, it is the foundation the song is built from. “Ghost Bird” is a progressive, new-school country roots-based song that starts with an ambient music bed, similar to how the songs on Emmylou Harris’s album Wrecking Ball are constructed.
Well, we’ve just about reached the half way point of 2011, and let me level with you folks, so far this has been a down year for music. Yes, there’s been a few good projects and some surprises as well, but generally speaking it’s been pretty bleak compared to 2010, which was such a bumper year for music.
That’s right my friends, royalty will be gracing the Muddy Roots Festival stage in Cookeville TN on September 3rd & 4th. And when I say “gracing”, I don’t know that there has ever been another to rock with such grace than the Queen of Rockabilly herself, Wanda Jackson. Few artists can still call themselves relevant and engaging over 50 years after their career started. Even fewer can say they once dumped the King of Rock n’ Roll.